Dr. Kenny’s research centers around child maltreatment, specifically childhood sexual abuse. She has developed prevention programs for childhood sexual abuse to be delivered to children and their parents. She believes that the onus of prevention should not be placed on children alone, but rather that society plays a large role in creating safe environments for our youth. She has published on prevention of childhood sexual abuse, cultural context of sexual abuse and training for professionals.
Most recently, Dr. Kenny has been working with Kristi House, the Miami-based child advocacy center, on its program to evaluate services for girls who have been commercially sexually abused. Dr. Kenny has worked to educate professionals on their role as mandatory reporters, creating web-based and in-person trainings. She serves as a consultant to the University Compliance Office on matters related to child abuse reporting.
Dr. Maureen C. Kenny is trained as a clinical psychologist and spent the early part of her career working with abused children and their families. As part of a research team that examined the effects of maltreatment and abuse on children, she also worked to help these children heal from traumatic experiences. Over time, she became involved in prevention efforts, first in the area of abuse reporting. Her efforts were spent educating mandated reporters of child abuse to identify, recognize and report abusive situations early so that intervention could be sought for the child, and healing could begin. With external funding from the Children's Trust of Miami Dade County, she founded KLAS: Kids Learning About Safety, which provided safety education to preschoolers and their parents throughout Miami-Dade County. Dr. Kenny continues her efforts to educate the public and the university community about mandatory child abuse reporting roles.
The skills Dr. Kenny uses in the classroom at FIU teaching counseling students to work with diverse populations, translates directly to the kind of work she is involved within the community. As a professor to future clinical mental health, school and rehabilitation counselors, she is able to share the experiences she has working with families to help her students understand the importance of educating families in abuse prevention.
Dr. Kenny teaches a range of courses in the Counselor Education program, including Adult Psychopathology, Ethical and Legal Issues in Counseling and provides supervision to practicum and internship students. She teaches in person and online.
Dr. Kenny receives the Outstanding Member Award, Child and Family Division of Florida Psychological Association, July 2014
Dr. Kenny currently serves at:
- American Counseling Association Publications Committee, Advisory Board Member, 2010-Present
- Presidential Task Force, Promoting Mental Health and Averting Addiction through Prevention Strategies, 2018- Present
- Editorial Board, Child Abuse Review
- Editorial Board, Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research and Practice
- Review Board, Journal of Child and Adolescent Trauma, 2010 – Present
- Editorial Board, Journal of Child Sexual Abuse
Her credentials include the following:
- American Psychological Association — Fellow, Division 37
- Licensed Psychologist, Florida, PY 5298
- Qualified Supervisor, Florida
- National Board Certified Counselor (NCC)
B.A.:Psychology, Rutgers College, May1989 M.S.:Psychology, Nova University, March1991 Ph.D. Psychology, : NovaSoutheastern University, September1994
- Child sexual abuse
- Child maltreatment
- Cultural context of sexual abuse
Sexual Abuse Prevention Lab
Formally trained as a clinical psychologist, I completed a postdoctoral residency working with sexually abused children. In treating these victimized children and their families, I became interested in their symptom presentation, their responsiveness to treatment and the reactions/support of their families. I soon realized many of the children that I was treating had been victims for years without ever being reported to the authorities. This led to a research focus of examining the barriers for mandated reporters of child maltreatment.
I have collaborated with colleagues in the U.S. and Australia to examine reporting laws, common components across states, as well as difference and guidance for mandated reporters to be compliant with their legal and ethical responsibility. Prevention of childhood sexual abuse is a top priority for me, and my research seeks to find ways to raise awareness of this trauma and educate parents about ways to keep their children safe.
Understanding childhood sexual abuse as an epidemic, I believe prevention rests not on our children, but on society. Only through a systemic approach to prevention can we hope to reduce the victimization of children. My work in Miami has also led me to examine the impact of culture on family discussions of sexuality and child sexual abuse prevention for diverse families.
My current research foci build upon my past work by examining the commercial sexual exploitation of girls. I am also interested in how families with children with disabilities manage prevention of abuse.
Participate in Research
Study on Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder are needed to participate in a study that has been approved by the Institutional Review Board at Florida International University. The parents must have children between 3 and 18 years of age. The purpose of this study is to examine your knowledge level regarding child abuse and your concern about your child’s safety. You will also be asked about your comfort level with providing sexual education and sexual abuse prevention information to your child.
Children with ASD have been found to be at an increased risk for abuse, but there are few programs to help parents talk to their children about this problem. This study seeks to determine how big of a concern sexual victimization is to you and how willing you are to talk to your child about it. The study will only take about 15-20 minutes for you to respond to questions through an anonymous online survey. All of the information you provide will be confidential and no identifying information will be used. We are hopeful that the results of this study will help us learn more about what parents of children with ASD are concerned about regarding sexuality education. This information can help inform future programming for parents. To get started: go.fiu.edu/FIUAutismStudy
Please contact Dr. Maureen Kenny at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or want the link sent directly.
Sexual Abuse Prevention Study
Please, consider participating in a study on sexual abuse prevention. Your time and effort will be much appreciated. At the end of the survey, you will find a free webinar on how to talk to children about sexuality.
Please contact Dr. Maureen Kenny at email@example.com if you have any questions about this study.
Courses taught by Dr. Kenny:
- MHS 6427 — Adult Psychopathology
- MHS 6700 — Ethical Issues In Counseling
- MHS 6802 — Supervised Field Experience (Internship)
Dr. Kenny was interviewed by The Palm Beach Post in October 2018 about the traumatic impact of hurricanes on south Florida residents.
Dr. Kenny was interviewed by Counseling Today in September 2017, the monthly publication of the American Counseling Association on the impact of Hurricane Harvey.
Dr. Kenny was interviewed in September 2013 by the BBC, which also cited her paper in a radio piece on mandatory child abuse reporting. September 17, 2013. The interview was cited by the UK nonprofit Full Fact.